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Maria Cornelius, who joined Moxley Carmichael in 2013, is a longtime communications professional with extensive experience as a writer and editor across various media, including digital, video and print.
Maria has been immersed in local media for more than 30 years and works closely with our account executives and creative staff to help serve our diverse client base. Her versatility is vital for the firm, as she can handle multimedia platforms, including social media, where she has an active and engaging presence. Maria worked for 14 years at the News Sentinel, where she rose through the ranks from reporter to assistant managing editor. Her familiarity with this community serves her well in public relations.
Maria also is an accomplished sportswriter with bylines in local, regional and national media and continues to write in that arena. She wrote the award-winning book, “The Final Season: The Perseverance of Pat Summitt,” which was published by The University of Tennessee Press and chronicles the last season of the legendary Lady Vols basketball coach. Boosted by promotion by Moxley Carmichael, the book sold 4,000 copies in the first five days after release.
She was named the 2020 recipient of the Mel Greenberg Media Award by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). Named after Mel Greenberg, the Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter who founded the Associated Press Top 25 women’s basketball poll, the award is presented annually to a member of the media or sports communications professional who has best displayed a commitment to women’s basketball and to advancing the role of the media in the women’s game.
Maria is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), a board member since 2016 and is now serving as president of the East Tennessee SPJ chapter for two year-long terms effective Sept. 1, 2021. She also is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association; Association for Women in Sports Media; and WBCA. She joined the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame board of governors in 2020 and is chair of the fundraising and development committee. Maria, a breast cancer survivor, also serves as a committee member in Knoxville for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer to help coordinate the annual walk. In 2019, she was presented with Making Strides’ Ashley Slagle Roback Courage of the Heart Award for her service.
In 2020, 2021 and 2022, she served as an American Cancer Society ResearcHERS ambassador in Tennessee to raise money for female scientists in cancer research. Maria also served on the board of Champions for a Cause, which raises funds for breast cancer awareness and was founded by coaches and former Lady Vol basketball players, Holly Warlick and Nikki Caldwell Fargas. She is a 2018 graduate of Introduction Knoxville.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Memphis in 1987. Originally from North Carolina, Maria now resides in Seymour with her dogs, Gus and Sansa, and assorted cats, including the angelic Patches, a diva named Sophia Maria and two house panthers.